Do you wonder what kind of learning takes place at certain ages? Do you want to know how to encourage this learning? Do you want to find great educational toys? If you answered yes to any of these, then read on!
Baby: 0-12 mos.
Babies are very curious and begin learning immediately after birth. The best way for a baby to learn is through play, and there are many ways to encourage and foster this learning. Babies will learn through music and song, by exploring objects or toys, by looking at books, and by playing simple games. These activities help a baby to develop language and social skills, improve motor skills, and help them to think in different ways. In addition, these activities will help a baby develop self-confidence and self-control.
Toddler: 1-3 yrs.
Play is an important aspect of a toddler's learning. Not only are toddlers continuing to learn language and social skills, but now they are beginning to understand the world around them. Pretend play is one of the best ways for a toddler to learn. Pretend play includes a wide variety of play that can include many different objects such as play phones, dolls, trucks, dress-up, action figures, play pets, and much more. By allowing a toddler to use pretend play, they will begin to develop an understanding of the world and items surrounding them. Toddlers will learn most efficiently when they can touch, smell, see, hear, or taste something. Using the senses amplifies the learning experience in toddlers. It is still very important to focus on books and spoken words at this age as this will contribute to the continued development of language skills.
Preschool: 3-5 yrs.
Preschoolers add a whole plethora of new learning and skills to the list. Preschoolers continue to learn language skills and social skills, but are now also learning about numbers, counting, math, shapes, colors, and the alphabet. In addition, preschoolers are developing motor and fine motor skills as well as expanding their learning to imagination and creative play. If all of that isn't enough, preschoolers are also learning independence.
Science becomes a big interest for preschoolers as they observe the world around them. The one thing that is consistent is that preschoolers continue to learn best through play. Seeing cause and effect relationships, and how things work will help a child to understand the world around them.
Gradeschooler: 5-12 yrs.
The learning never stops. As kids become gradeschoolers, they continue to learn things they have already been learning, but with new focus areas added in. Kids are now beginning to learn math skills, literacy, new physical skills, as well as social and emotional skills. Reading and writing are very important during these years to help develop literacy. New physcial skills range widely from learning how to hold a pencil to riding a bike to using tools to build things. As with all other stages, kids at this age will learn the best with fun and play and thrive with a variety of toys and activities. There are many important areas of learning at this age including: music; art; technology; sports; games; science; math; reading; outdoor experiences; and much more. The more exposure a child has to these learning mechanisms, the more prepared the child will be for continued learning.
Teen: 12-18 yrs.
As the teen years approach, learning becomes more complex. At this point, learning begins to include reasoning, judgement, and planning. As teens grow, they also learn responsibility, initiative, and independence. Even at this age, learning through play fosters better problem solving and perseverance. Technology can play a big role in learning at this age as well. As technology has become a huge part of the everyday world, technology can help teens to play and learn about a huge variety of topics.
Some children are ready for new stages of learning before other children and every child learns at their own pace. Most educational toys are designed with this in mind and will be appropriate for more than one age group. These above items are simply suggestions for good educational toys for the different age groups, but there are many many more great choices at www.kid-krazy.com.
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